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Mike Vick vs The Media

You know something.  I’m getting really tired of the mainstream media’s apparent moral superiority.  I’m going to cite two incidents both related to Mike Vick in this piece.  I don’t understand who made mainstream media members a moral compass for anyone.  The first example I’ll cite is the local Fox affiliate here in Philly.  Hell, all the media here seems to do this.  Whenever they mention Mike Vick, they have to follow it up with the words “convicted felon”.  We get it; we know he’s a convicted felon.  We also know that he’s done serving his time.  We know that he is sorry.  It doesn’t matter if he’s sorry for what he did, or for what he lost or for getting caught.  The point is, he’s sorry, he’s been humbled and he lost everything.  He’s trying to make a change, to build a new life for himself, and his family.  Some very respected people (see Tony Dungy) have stuck their necks out for him.  Why is it that some people won’t give him any amount of fair time to do something positive?  Why can’t they get over themselves and stop thinking he has to perform a penance they feel is appropriate for him to be forgiven by them?

The fact that his second chance involves the opportunity to make millions is really still burning people up and I believe it’s really the underlying issue with all this hating that’s going on.  All the negativity, the skepticism, the idiocy has gone on too long.  They talk out of both sides of their mouths here in Philly and apparently other parts of the country; more on that in a bit.  I’m not here to bash the media, they have a job to do, but I think they take too many chances to sling mud for as long as they can.  Is it necessary to always say “Mike Vick, convicted felon”?  Who in this nation who follows sports even on a casual level doesn’t know what Mike Vick has done to deserve his jail time?  Who doesn’t know that he committed monstrous acts that caused him to deservedly lose his fortune?  Today he spoke at a local high school, Nueva Esperanza Academy, to try and tell them not to take the easy road in life, to do the right things.  He made it a point to stress that doing the wrong things is easy, but to do the right thing even though it’s hard.  This charter school is in North Philadelphia, and most of the students there aren’t privileged or rich.  Some even participate in dog fighting, and other negative activities.

It’s a shame, but he can get into more of these kids ear than someone who’s never been through what he has been through and is going through right now, and won’t be allowed to ever get past.  These kids know what it’s like to have to fight stereotypes daily.  If you know north Philly, then you know what I’m talking about.  Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Tom Brady, Tony Dungy, and the Pope himself wouldn’t have the attention of some of the people that Vick’s message can get through to because he lived his message.  Why won’t the media let us just watch him and see what he does and how he does it?  He spoke at a school today.  It’s embarrassing enough to have to talk about things like that to kids, but to have the media question whether it’s genuine or ordered by the Eagles is wrong.  Who cares?  Do any of those who criticize him now think they have that kind of influence? terrelle-pryor

My other beef is with the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Bill Livinston.  Who the hell is he to say that Terrelle Pryor’s tribute to Vick is wrong and makes him not a leader of his team?  Here’s an excerpt from his column found here:

The salute to Vick, a convicted felon, dog killer, and overrated NFL quarterback, was, however, repugnant to many people, including lots of loyal Ohio State fans…

By re-opening a story that has such powerful emotional connotations to so many people, and by doing so before possibly Ohio State’s most important game of the season, Pryor has shown that he might be the Buckeyes’ best player. But now he is sure not their leader.

He predictably has to mention that Vick should have a second chance almost as if it’s mandatory to say that before you go on to bash Vick:

Indisputably, Vick deserved a second chance after paying for his crime by going to Leavenworth federal prison. He got one from the Philadelphia Eagles. So this should be over.

So if it should be over, then why not just ignore that Pryor had a tribute to Vick on his eye black?  Why not toy with the idea that Vick’s second chance may yield some good results and have an impact on someone who might otherwise not have seen his downfall, and the consequences of living the way Vick used to live?  Pryor did also have a tribute to his sister under his other eye.  So Pryor admired Vick at some point.  Vick is a very good athlete, and probably served as an inspiration to a lot of young players before being caught and subsequently convicted.  One chose to show support.  What the media either fails to realize or convey properly is that supporting Mike Vick now doesn’t mean condoning his criminal past.  He sounded as humble as I’ve heard him speak when he spoke to the kids today.  I call them kids through this, but they are high school age, and some readily came out to The Humane Society and admitted they fought their dogs, but will now stop.  That should count for something.  No matter what, he’ll make some kind of positive impact on the city outside of sports.  Right now, I personally don’t care if the Eagles are using him for P.R., or whether they believe he can help the team right now, or if they are planning on replacing McNabb with him.  All that matters is what he does to redeem himself, and I’m willing to give him that chance without always having to label him as if “convicted felon” is his middle name.

Vick’s been through enough so far, and I’m sure he either knows, or is reminded often that each day he has to convince people that he’s a new man.  It’ll take more strength than he alone has, and I hope his family, friends, and close team mates will help him because the mainstream media is doing a good job of trying to tear him down.  But I guess that’s what they do best; they lift you up, but can’t wait to find something negative to bring you down with.  Below is the video of his speech.  You judge for yourself whether this is a man who isn’t at least trying to change.

If he’s acting, then he’s a good enough actor to have a post football career in television.  At least make some B movies.